around the Eurocentric world view,”nthe report informs us, “is limited andnnarrow.” “The near exclusion of otherncultures in the curriculum gives EuropeannAmerican children the seriouslyndistorted notion that their culture is thenonly one to have contributed to thengrowth of our society.” It makes whitenchildren “arrogant” and instills in themnthe idea that they are “part of thengroup that ‘has done jt all,'” whilenexerting “harmful” effects and “negativensocialization” on nonwhite children.nConservatives and neoconservatives,nof course, have generally howlednsplenetically in response to the “Curriculumnof Inclusion,” and properly so.nBut, as is common in such responses,nthey often seem not to have graspednfirmly the fundamental issue the proposednreforms raise.nU.S. News & World Report’s JohnnLeo, for example, was one of the firstncolumnists to criticize the report (Novembern27, 1989), while praising annalternative curriculum reform co-authorednby neoconservative educationnexpert Diane Ravitch that was adoptednin California. The California plan,nMr. Leo wrote, “frankly celebratesnAmerica’s democratic values — freedom,ntolerance, equality, the rights andnresponsibilities of citizenship — not asnthe inventions of a white power structurenbut as the heritage of all Americans,nregardless of color.” Similarly,nScott McConnell and Eric Breindel,ncriticizing the “Curriculum of Inclusion”nreport in the New Republic (Januaryn8-15, 1990), accurately notednthat “European intellectual traditions”nwere “essential to the establishment ofnpolitical democracy on these shores,”nand they argued thatnin the years since the Founders,nimmigrants from all over thenworld have come here becausenthey were attracted by thatndemocracy and the vibrantneconomy it engendered. Thisnblend produced a genuinelynpluralist society — indeed, thenvery concept of pluralism isnitself a product of the Europeann(or “Eurocentric”) tradition.nBut the problem with such criticismsnof “A Curriculum of Inclusion” is thatnthey fail to recognize that “America’sndemocratic values” and “pluralism” arennot only precisely what the “Curriculumnof Inclusion” is rejecting, but alsonthat pluralism in itself contains nothingnwith which to prune the budding totalitarianismnthat the report manifests. Indeed,nby acknowledging the legitimacynof even anti-pluralistic ideas and theirnexpression, pluralism provides the soil innwhich totalitarian minds and movementsncan sprout. The “multiculturalism”nof “A Curriculum of Inclusion”nexploits pluralist assumptions to demandnacceptance. But since it rejectsnany serious commitment to the valuesnof Western liberalism, its advocates havenno intention of preserving pluralistnmechanisms.nMoreover, regardless of the rhetoricalnand propaganda excesses of “A Curriculumnof Inclusion,” it is bang-rightnabout one thing: American civilizationnhistorically has been the product ofnEuropean-descended peoples and theirnideas. What else can “Eurocentricndominance” mean? The language, thenreligion, the dominant political institutions,nthe economic organizations andngoals, and the literary, intellectual, andnaesthetic traditions that have informednAmerican culture from its inceptionnhave all derived from Europe and itsnpeoples. It is all very well to point tonblack cotton-pickers and Chinese railroadnworkers, but the cotton fields andnthe railroads were there because whitenpeople wanted them there and knewnhow to put them there. Almost allnnon-European contributions to Americannhistory either have been made bynindividuals and groups that have assimilatednEuro-American ideas, values, andngoals, or have been conceived, organized,nand directed by white leaders.nAt least implicitly, the “Curriculumnof Inclusion” acknowledges this truth; itnjust doesn’t like it, and its authors resortnto the most labyrinthine confusionsnabout the role of nonwhites in Americannhistory to get around the truth andnreverse it. What they are seeking, then,nis not simply to join a civilization thatnhas excluded and subordinated themnand their peoples but to delegitimize itnand destroy it, with the idea of replacingnit with their own conception of civilization,nto which whites themselves will bensubordinated.nOf course, “A Curriculum of Inclusion”nis not the only such challenge tonhistoric American civilization. It is all ofna piece with the attack on “Westernnnnculture” courses at Stanford a couple ofnyears ago and at other universities andncolleges across the country. At thenelementary and secondary levels, angroup called the “National Black UnitednFront” is launching similar assaultsnon school curricula in at least ten majornAmerican cities and school systems,naccording to Carol Innerst of the WashingtonnTimes, with the purpose ofnexpunging what its activists call then”white supremacy” of the publicnschools. “Now that we are clear,” saysnNBUF’s chairman, Conrad Worrill,n”that the European world did not bringnthe light of civilization to Africa, and innfact it was the other way around —nAfricans in ancient times had a profoundninfluence on the rest of thenworld —we ought to put African contributionsnat the center of the curriculum.”nAnd, of course, feminist andnhomosexual activists seek similar “revisions”nof traditional curricula to challengenmale heterosexual dominance.nNo wonder this year’s Black HistorynMonth was such fun.nThe total assault is part of the strugglenfor what the Italian CommunistnAntonio Gramsci called “cultural hegemony,”nthe subversion and controlnof the dominant ideas, values, tastes,nand moral standards of a society, whichnis an essential precondition for seizingnpolitical power and without which enduringnrevolutionary power is not possible.nThe assault is also part of thencontinuing cultural dispossession of thenhistoric core of American civilization,nand as such it enjoys at least tacitnsupport from the already dominantnelites that gain power through managingnand manipulating social changenand which therefore thrive on “pluralism.”nInvoking “pluralism” and “democraticnvalues” will do nothing to resistnthe assault but will only legitimize it,nsince the attackers rely on such slogansnof liberalism and the sanctity thesenslogans enjoy to move their vanguardnforward. Those Americans who wantnto preserve their historic civilizationnwill need to reassert their own hegemonynagainst that vanguard, and incantationsnof pluralism and democracynwill be of less help to them in achievingnit than a firm insistence on the greatnessnof who they are, where they comenfrom, and what they have achieved.n<^nJUNE 1990/13n